Launch Your Kindle E-Book in 14 Days
Authors and business owners learn multiple strategies our team has developed to push a Kindle book to the top of its category… and keep it there.
1 – Week 1: Days 1-7
As you are likely well-aware by now, Amazon’s Kindle has overtaken – and redefined the book marketplace. Now that electronic books are outselling hardcover books, authors get to keep more money and can self-publish, which makes Kindle books very appealing. Amazon is the top buyer search engine on the Internet, so if a book is ranked high, you can create a large amount of leads.
In this Execution Plan, you’ll learn multiple strategies our team has developed via the members-exclusive Number One Book System to push a book to the top of its category for the Kindle … and keep it there.
Step #1: Enroll your e-book in the KDP select program
The KDP Select program allows you to promote your book free for 5 out of every 90 days. During this time you can garner reviews and share in the fees paid to authors who allow their books to be shared free with Amazon Prime members and other Amazon partners like public libraries.
By signing up for an exclusive 90-day program period, you cannot publish your book with any other publisher or website during that 90 days, and you agree that people in the Prime program who own Kindles can borrow your book for free. In exchange, you earn a percentage of the KDP Select fund, which has been paying right about $2.00 per book borrowed.
Yes, you’re getting paid to give your book away for free.
- Your e-book is available exclusively on Amazon for 90 days.
- You have the right to promote your e-book for free for 5 out of the 90 days.
- Your book is automatically enrolled in the Kindle Owners Lending Library, from which Prime members can borrow one book per month.
- You are paid for each time your book is borrowed from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. The payment varies from month to month, depending upon how many books are borrowed, but typically is a little over $2.00 per borrow, which is fairly close to the royalty generated from selling an e-book for $2.99.
Keep in mind, during your “5 out of every 90 days” period, you can reduce your price to FREE for all members. You will not make any money for those who download your title, Prime members or otherwise. But now you are getting your book MOMENTUM, moving it to the top of Amazon’s free book category.
Books that perform well in the free category tend to perform better once the book returns to its normal price.
The more your book is borrowed, the more money you earn from the fund. KDP Select also offers publishers more tools and resources to promote your book. Once the 90 days are over and your agreement has expired you can then publish your book anywhere you choose.
SNEAKY TRICK #1: To circumvent this restriction from Kindle Select, change the title of the book and sell on your own website.
Watch Ryan Deiss explain this process during a recent Number One Book System presentation:
To enroll in KDP Select, follow these steps:
How do you enroll?
- Log in to your KDP account. You see a list of your books with a box to check on the left of their title.
- Click on the box of the title you want to enroll.
- Once it is checked, go straight up until you see a box that says Actions. Click on the Actions button.
- You will see a list of different things you can do. The first one says, “Enroll this book in KDP Select.” Click on that. It will take you through a little legal information.
Once it is enrolled, you can choose your free days:
- From your Bookshelf, check the box next to the title you want to select.
- Click again on Actions. Choose Manage Promotions.
- This takes you to the Edit Book Details page. Click on Promotions Manager.
- You will now be able to schedule, edit or delete a scheduled one, or stop ongoing promotions. Amazon starts their week on Monday, so make sure you have the correct dates.
To see these enrollment steps in action, view Perry Belcher’s walkthrough below:
- Promote your free days. There are many webpages that will allow you to advertise for free (see the list at the end of this post), but they may require a month or more to schedule it.
- You cannot rollover any unused free promotion days to future terms.
- You will not receive any royalties while it is free.
- KDP automatically re-enrolls your book after you first join. You may cancel at any time, but you may not post your title on any other site for sale until that 90-day period is finished.
If readers buy a significant number of your books from other venues, then you probably don’t want to only provide content only to Amazon. BUT, if you have no readers yet – which is likely true for many of the people reading this – then building an audience on Amazon before branching out to other venues is likely an excellent choice.
Newer authors with limited readership probably risk little to nothing by granting Amazon exclusivity while they use Select to build their audience. KDP Select becomes a tool to build a presence on the bestseller lists, reviews, and solid sales figures, along with an income before expansion, much in the way that smaller presses can serve as a stepping stone to larger publishers.
Step #2: Plan your free e-book promotion
- You will need the two weeks to organize all of your other launch details and execute the free promotion.
- You need to be COMMITTED to the program in order for it to work. Giving yourself a strict timetable – even if you haven’t finished your book – will ensure you stay on task and meet your deadlines.
2. Set KDP Select 5-day FREE promo to begin on a Saturday.
- Amazon downloads are highest on weekends, especially in the free category. Beginning your free promo on Saturday gives you the benefit of the heavier weekend traffic, while still leaving you with three promo days to use afterwards.
- These high-traffic days allow your book a better opportunity to rise to the top of the free Amazon category. Books that get to the top of the rankings tend to stay there, thanks to the increased exposure.
3. Use your five days consecutively
- Product launches need to be consistent and sustained to gain traction with the audience. Look to focus your efforts on one five-day stretch.
- If you are exceeding expectations and have surpassed your goals, consider cutting off your promotion to save promo days. There is no extension, however.
4. Set the price of your book to $0.99
- Despite $0.99 normally being a bad price point because of limited royalties, with a similar conversion rate as $2.99, for this launch, aim lower to gather attention and get users to buy your book. (More on this in the next section.)
5. Ensure you have quality, promotable product
Getting your book on the “free list” isn’t going to get people to download it, read it, review it favorably, or buy your other books if the cover is amateurish, formatting and editing are sloppy, there isn’t a well-written description, your author-central page isn’t complete or the book isn’t in the right browsing categories.
Keep the following things in mind when deciding which book to promote:
- If necessary, offer the first book of a series free. Many, if not most, readers like to read series in order. Therefore, if one of the goals of the free promotion is to gain new readers to the series, start them off at the beginning and draw them into your series.
- Start with your lowest performer. If you have standalone books or series books that can be read easily in any order, the question of which books to start with depends on your goals. Here, the goal would be to get people to find that book, give it more positive reviews, and improve its rankings and subsequent sales.
- You might want to start with your strongest-selling book, the one that you think has the best chance of getting the largest number of downloads and the largest subsequent bump in sales.
6. Think about timing
Know when your sales usually peak, and what your lowest sale days are. Is there a holiday that you can tie your book promotion into? It’s possible a Wednesday or a Thursday would work better for you than a Friday.
Step #3: Obtain GOOD purchaser reviews
Before you move any further down this Execution Plan, make sure your Amazon page looks like this:
Reviews are golden tickets for Amazon customers. However, to protect consumers, Amazon is actively improving the platform to thwart review fraud.
- A variety of positive, but critical reviews. A page full of brief 5-star reviews makes it appear fraudulent and staged.
- The reviewers should be from different cities, to broaden the scope and not appear as if you are only appealing to local readers.
- They must be real – they should not rave about the author or authors, but simply the content.
- They must be well-written. It is important to have reviews classified as “helpful” – a review that states, “This book is awesome!” without any supporting evidence or testimony does no good
Learn more from Ryan in this next segment:
Step #4: Join NICHE forums
Quite simply, joining niche forums that relate to your subject is a free way to expose your book to potential customers. Enter these groups with plans of giving away your book there in the future. The big point here is to get inside the communities BEFORE you need help from their members.
Step #5: Join FREEBIE forums
Similar to niche forums, but much easier to discover, are freebie forums. While not specific to e-books, these communities thrive on original, easy-to-obtain free items and content.
However, free Kindle books make up a significant portion of freebie sites, making them a key part of your strategy.
- Forum: http://freebiesociety.com
- Forum: http://bigbigforums.com
- Forum: http://freebierevolution.com
- Forum: http://freebieforums.org
- Forum: http://freebieusa.com
- Forum: http://www.forums.freestufftimes.com
- Forum: http://jaymansfreebieworld.com/forums.php
- Forum: http://realfreestuffforall.com
- Forum: http://daddyodeals.com
- Forum: http://totallyfrugal.com
Step #6: Join niche and freebie Facebook communities
Facebook is a powerful tool for the Kindle publisher. There are literally hundreds of pages dedicated to freebies, free Kindle books, and niche topics. Each of these pages has a slew of active fans, each looking to share new content and items.
In the image below, you’ll see that this Weight Watchers fan page has a tremendous built-in audience. With 1.6+ million “likes,” — you have the potential to reach an unbelievable amount of new readers simply by leaving a post on their page.
- Much like forum participation, you should be active within this community prior to promoting your book.
- Don’t simply post your book without participation or context, or you will be blocked from posting by the page administrator.
- When promoting your book, address the page members personally, and invite them to read and review your book. Don’t ask for a purchase or a download – ask them for help. This approach makes your engagement more personal, and likely more fruitful.
To find the most powerful pages you may consider doing a Google search (Search string: “keyword” facebook.com)
Watch the video below to see how to make niche and freebie posts on Facebook:
2 – Week 2: Days 8-14
Step #7: Join FREE Kindle pages
Now that we’re one week from launch, it’s time to start getting serious.
There are several sites dedicated solely to giving away free Kindle books. Listings on these three sites alone can boost your book into Amazon’s Top 100 bestsellers list.
We created our own site for this purpose called Free Digital Reads (seen below). On this page, authors who are also members of the Number One Book System syndication package can syndicate their titles for free (up to five times) to a growing audience of 67,000 Facebook fans and countless subscribers.
Syndication on Free Digital Reads site alone can vault your title to the top of Amazon’s free category. And there are many of these sites to be involved with.
When executing this step, keep the following in mind:
- Many of these sites plan their syndication calendars 7+ days in advance, so be sure to contact these sites within that timeframe.
- Be sure to have 5 or more positive (4-5 star) reviews. A book with limited or no reviews will not be posted to these sites, and you will rarely receive an explanation from the site owner as to why.
- Give them your scheduled launch and promo dates. By demonstrating your timeframe, they will be able to more easily work you into their own calendars.
SNEAKY TRICK #1: When contacting these sites, ask to advertise on their site – DO NOT ask to have a book listed, simply propose an advertising opportunity to put money in their pockets. This will evoke a response from the site manager, opening the lines of discussion and getting your foot in the door to be featured in their free book listings.
SNEAKY TRICK #2: Purchase a gift card or other small token of appreciation for the site managers. The small gesture will likely help move your book to the front of the line for review and approval to be featured on the site. Never dismiss the power of a friendly gift.
Here are the 3 most important free Kindle Book pages
Learn ore from Ryan in this next segment:
Also, for a concrete proof of concept, read the following case study excerpt from award-winning independent author PJ Sharon, who leveraged free Kindle Book pages into massive gains in both reach and sales:
On Thursday, April 19th, I joined fifteen other children’s, middle grade and YA authors who put all of our books for free for that day only. I used the momentum of that promotion and added two more free days for my book. Thanks to the organizational genius and diligence of our “fearless leader” Stacey Juba, the books were listed on dozens of sites that showcase FREE books. Stacey assigned each of us five sites to contact regarding the promotion.
That means at least seventy-five sites potentially carried our free promo. It cost us nothing and was very easy and manageable. I also listed my book on the following FREE Book promotion sites:
E-reader News Today, Indie Book List, Pixel of Ink, Free Kindle Books Today, Your Book Authors.com, and Kindle Nation Daily, most of whom kept my book listed on their front pages for the entire three days.
It might interest you to know that I had just come off of a ten-day Blog Hop with seventy-four other authors and had the opportunity to promote the event to the dozens of people who “hopped” by my blog to check it out or leave comments. We implemented a massive tweet and FB campaign as well with our social networks.
My goals for the FREE promotion:
- Increase visibility/discoverability (Top 100 lists)
- Expand my readership/reach new readers
- Boost sales
- Get more reviews (I had only two reviews, both 5 stars before the promo started. This will become important later.)
I was stunned at the results and I’m still floating on the residual effects. Before I started the FREE days, I was feeling a bit discouraged. January, February, and March sales had climbed steadily and I half expected April to continue to climb since I had just released SAVAGE CINDERELLA (SC) in mid-March, thereby expanding my backlist, which should, theoretically increase the sales of all of my books. Not so much. Truth be told, April brought on a big fat stall in sales and I hadn’t sold a book in three days.
As of April 18th I had sold 11 copies of SC on Amazon for the month. My Amazon ranking was somewhere around 80,000. Pitiful, I know! Sales of ON THIN ICE have consistently been good and I was at 58 sales for April. Not bad, but not nearly as good as the previous three months.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up on April 19th (three hours into the promotion) to 57 downloads and a ranking of 7,842 in the Kindle Free Store. I watched throughout the day and was mesmerized as I saw the numbers soar. By midnight that night, I had 4,954 downloads and was #89 on the Free Kindle Books list. I’d broken into the TOP 100 list that would gain me the exposure I was looking for.
Step #8: Set up advertising on e-zines and Facebook
If you are interested in a more advanced way to drive more downloads, consider using e-zine advertising. E-zines are quick and easy email communications that drive a ton of traffic.
However, in order to find the top e-zines in any category, it is often necessary to purchase membership to sites such asThe Ezine Directory, which can prove costly. Still, the results from even the most basic of ads can be worth the investment.
- Sponsored ad – Here, you are simply placing an ad in someone else’s email newsletter.
- Solo ad – The e-zine proprietor is sending your entire endorsement to their subscriber lists
Typically you can expect a 5-10% open rate, with a 40-50% CTR on those opens. Typically, this can lead to notable, if not significant, download boosts, depending on category.
Hear more about e-zine ad placement from Ryan in this next segment:
- Pre-buy your Facebook ads – These ads can take time to be approved, especially for first-time ad buyers. We recommend buying these ads 7 days in advance of your launch window, then pausing the ad so it does not start immediately.
- Target the audiences from the Facebook Pages you “liked” earlier in the process – When you combine your posting as a member of the page community with the possibility of your book’s ad appearing in the right-hand column for audience members, add credibility to your book’s authority (provided you are offering meaningful contributions to the community), and have your product readily available for those who are interested.
- When writing the ad, use only the book cover as your image – When you add a link to your book to your Facebook post, it will pull the book cover image. This ensures that your book’s image will match that of the ad, and double the exposure of your title to the audience.
- Turn ads on at MIDNIGHT of the day your promotion begins.
The video below demonstrates how to set up a Facebook ad.
See Ryan discuss this strategy in the following video:
Step #9: Set up THREE press releases
Letting the world know that you have a free Kindle book to give away is best done through press syndication. Here are the steps you should follow to achieve maximum effectiveness with your press releases.
- Write 3 press releases that build upon each other, or farm out your press release writing to http://fiverr.com
- Each press release should reference and link back to the previous one, creating a link wheel within the press release service
- Submit to Webwire.com using their $24.95 service scheduled for days 1, 2 and 3 of your 5-day promotion
So how do you get the media to write about your book? Relevance.
The best way to do this is to present yourself as a source on a newsy topic, or identify a trend that you’re qualified to speak about. Give the media reason to interview you, and hopefully when s/he quotes you, there will be a mention of your book in return.
The media isn’t going to cover your book for the sake of it. But, they are much more likely to offer coverage of a title that relates to a current trend or hot topic. Your release needs to gain that kind of traction by positioning your title as a potential solution to a problem, or analysis of a relevant trend.
Download our proven press release template, or view it below:
Step #10: Prepare for launch
As you get ready to unleash your title to the public, use this handy launch eve checklist to make sure you’re prepared:
- 24 hours before the launch, you raised your price from $2.99 – $9.95 to increase the perceived value of your giveaway
- Confirmed ALL your email drops the day before
- Posted your free promotion to ALL forums and Facebook pages between 8:00 p.m. and midnight PST (Amazon’s time zone) on the eve of the launch
- Scheduled ALL your ad campaigns to go LIVE at midnight PST
- Tweeted and posted to Facebook extensively
Step #11: End the promotion and adjust pricing
If you are in the top 100 list the day you are scheduled to close the promotion, then end your FREE promotion early – ideally at noon PST, as Amazon will leave your listing in the FREE best sellers list for several prime hours.
This can result in THOUSANDS of people arriving at your page and BUYING your book, as the subject matter has already captured their interest.
NOTE: If you are not in the top 100 let the promotion expire naturally.
After the dust has settled, and you begin seeing gains, consider a re-pricing strategy to boost sales. Consider reducing your book price to $0.99 for one week or until you are dominating your desired paid categories, then test raising your price to $2.99 to $4.95, until resistance is felt.
See Ryan’s video below for two sneaky pricing tricks and more discussion of Amazon’s pricing structure:
One of the benefits of publishing on Kindle is that you can experiment with different price points to maximize your profits. Don’t be afraid to change your price and compare the results, but be sure your sales changes aren’t being affected by other factors, such as the type of promotions you are doing at the time.
On the Kindle platform, you can elect to receive a 70% royalty if your e-book meets these requirements:
- The list price resides between $2.99 and $9.99.
- The e-book list price is at least 20% below the lowest list price for the printed version of the book.
- The e-book must be made available for sale in all countries for which the author or publisher has rights, and the e-book will be included in a broad set of features in the Kindle Store, such as text-to-speech.
The Kindle royalty for books that don’t meet these requirements is 35%.
From our tests, $2.99 is a popular price point for self-published fiction. But some novelists have lowered their price to $1.99 or even $0.99 to increase sales volume.
Nonfiction how-to books are less price-sensitive, because people are buying information that they need, rather than entertainment. Still, customers expect e-book prices to be lower than print. And nonfiction buyers often compare several different books before choosing one, so you may be at a disadvantage if comparable books are priced more competitively.
Step #12: Update your book
How would you like Amazon to email 30,000 customers for you? That’s exactly what happened to us when we learned this little trick.
When you send Amazon a message regarding an update to your book, please provide details and specific examples of the corrections made to the book.
1. If the changes made to your content are considered major, Amazon will send an email to all customers who own the book to notify them that the update exists. These customers can choose to receive the update through their Manage Your Kindle page on Amazon.com.
2. If the changes made to your content are considered minor, Amazon won’t be able to notify all customers by email, but they will enable them to update the book’s content through the Manage Your Kindle page on Amazon.com.
Amazon will email EVERY downloader of your book a link to get the new updated version. This gets TONS of readers to consume your book above other free downloads they forget or ignore.
Remember, a book is a live entity. Don’t be afraid to put out a second, third, fourth edition or more, as long as your book keeps selling. This will most likely apply if yours is a textbook or deals with changing technology or social habits.
Not only will people appreciate updated information, your diligence will build trust, as well as give you the opportunity to run new promotions around the new edition – and attract new readers.
BONUS: 4 Must-Have Kindle Resources
Once you’ve launched, it’s important to take advantage of the myriad resources offered by Amazon and those who support the Kindle platform. See which ones will enhance your marketing and promotion, formatting and function of your Amazon options.
And download it even if you do have a Kindle device. (You want to see what those who also use the Kindle Cloud Reader see, when they download your e-book.)
This is one of the many directories you should consider submitting your book to when you publish it on Amazon. Alexa.com shows this directory/social book site with a Global Rank of just 281 and its popularity has done nothing but soar over the last two years.
- Formatting your manuscript to Kindle
- Creating a cover for your book
- Write a detailed, verified book review
Join Amazon Author Central not only to create your Author page, but to help yourself to up-to-date sales data, contact support staff, get your questions answered and track your sales.